This year China's Advertising Law will see its
first amendment in two decades. The amendment, which will be
implemented on September 1, 2015, reflects the central
government's efforts to strengthen consumer protection and to
crack down on fraudulent marketing behaviors. It also specifically
subjects life sciences companies to new advertising requirements
Echoing the amendment, the State Administration of Industry and
Commerce ("SAIC"), the enforcement body overseeing
advertising compliance, is now calling for public comments on the
follow-on revision of a series of administrative measures on drug,
device and medical service advertisements, including the Review
Standards for Pharmaceutical Advertisements, the Review
Standards for Medical Device Advertisements, the Review
Standards for Veterinary Drug Advertisements, and the
Administrative Measures on Medical Service
Below are some noteworthy changes introduced by this round of
legislative initiatives. Life sciences industry players are
encouraged to carefully review the new requirements and adapt their
marketing and promotional policies and activities accordingly.
Advertising is prohibited for a broader set of pharmaceutical
products. The advertising ban now extends to pharmaceutical
precursor chemicals, as well as drugs, devices and treatment
methods for drug rehabilitation.
Drug and device advertisements must clearly state critical
information about the products, such as contraindication and
Drug and device advertisements must not contain absolute
assurances or guarantees of the product's safety. (Previously,
the law prohibited only assurances or guarantees of efficacy).
Advertisements of OTC drugs must not specify their
pharmacologic action mechanisms.
Spokesmen cannot be used in drug, device and medical service
Mass media (including broadcasting, television and the
Internet) cannot feature drug, device, health supplement and
medical service advertisements in disguised forms, such as in news
reports or health-related public education programs.
Mass media targeted at minors are not allowed to carry drug,
device, health supplement or medical service advertisements.
Advertisement producers and publishers, together with the
advertisement owners, are jointly liable for fraudulent
advertisement of products and services concerning consumers'
lives and health.
Alongside the above new requirements, the revision proposes to
remove a restriction on medical service advertisements. Currently,
medical service advertisements can contain only basic information
regarding the advertised medical institution, such as name,
address, telephone number, clinical subjects, and number of beds.
In the revised measures, other promotional content will be allowed
unless expressly prohibited.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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